In my opinion, sheet masks are the best thing to have come out of the K-Beauty influx. Sheet masks are the perfect confluence of laziness and effectiveness, without the weirdness of the more out-there trends (snail mucus – I’m looking at you!) What started as an Instagram trend is now firmly entrenched and I defy you to find a brand that hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon. Sheet Masks are the ultimate quick fix. Combining the potency of a serum and the hydration of a regular mask, these facial wonders are a one-and-done solution to a myriad of facial woes. I use a sheet mask at least once a week, if not more, and I highly recommend adding them into your routine if you haven’t.
Now, in particular, is the right time of year to up your sheet mask game. For those of us in the southern hemisphere, it is the ideal time to replenish our skin after a cold winter and prep it for the heat and air-con dehydration that is soon to come. For those in the northern hemisphere, this is the perfect time to get your skin into peak condition before the ravages of winter wreak havoc on your skin. Which is great for us, as you can now find them everywhere and at every price point. I’ve tried a lot, but these are the top four sheet masks that I keep coming back to.
SK-II Skin Signature 3D Redefining Mask
Made of cotton, and enriched with SK-II’s miracle ingredient Pitera. Using this mask gives me similar results to a professional facial. It is intensely hydrating, and leaves the skin clear, radiant and supple. The fragrance is pleasant without being overwhelming. I really love that this mask is in two pieces; this means I can adjust it to fit all the contours of my face. The fabric is also stretchable, to make sure you can really get a personalized fit. But aside from the fit, the serum itself is also amazing. Thicker and more viscous than most sheet masks I’ve tried, it feels amazing on, and the end results are outstanding. This sheet mask is pricey though, so I tend to save it for when my skin really needs a boost.
AUD $200 for 6 masks – available here
Lancome Genefique Youth Activating Second Skin Mask
I purchased this mask for its supposed brightening effects, and I have to say, it does work! Another cloth-like mask, this one from Lancome is soaked in a thinner serum than the SK II (it’s almost drippy), but it is still cool and refreshing to apply, without being overly messy. Based on Lancome’s patented Genefique serum, which I used in my early 30’s, each mask contains 1/2 a bottle of the star serum! It smells faintly of alcohol and not much else. It does a stellar job of adding radiance to dull skin, is intensely hydrating, and is probably my all-round fave out of the four.
AUD $145 for 6 masks – currently on sale for $87 here
Mecca Cosmetica Fresh Faced Hydrogel Sheet Mask
Mecca has a whole collection of their own branded sheet masks now, but this is the one I reach for most often. They don’t make any fancy claims with this one – they simply tout its intense hydration, and that is what it delivers. This mask feels completely different to the two above. Made from a hydrogel, it feels thicker when on the skin, and I find I can move around more without it slipping off. It is in two pieces; however, I do find the pieces a little bit on the small size – the top piece doesn’t actually cover my whole forehead. As I said, what this mask gives in spades is hydration and my skin feels plump and nourished after using. I use this mostly as a quick pick-me-up when my skin is feeling a bit blah.
AUD $45 for 4 masks – available here
Neutrogena HydroBoost Intensive Hydrating Mask
While I would love to be using the above masks all the time, it’s just not feasible, especially given I use probably 3 masks a week (at least!). This little baby fills the gaps nicely. Also a hydrogel, it is much thinner and more delicate than the Mecca sheet mask, so you need to take a bit more care applying it, and the two pieces are fiddly. It’s also quite slippery so you really need to lie down when wearing. The smell is the same as the rest of their HydroBoost range – a strong fresh soapy smell, that may be irritating to some. This delivers hydration and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth, but is clearly not in the same league as the ones above. However, for a quick hit of hydration at a very good price point, it is a fine option.
AUD $19.99 for 5 masks – available here
Five ways to maximize a sheet mask’s effectiveness
Sheet masks are an easy fix, but here are five simple ways to maximize their effectiveness.
- Soften your skin first. It goes without saying that your skin should be freshly cleaned before applying the mask. But using a softener or essence (even rosewater) just before using the sheet mask will help your skin better absorb the ingredients.
- Adjust to fit. Every face is different, so I will usually tear little bits here and there so the mask contours to my face. I most often need to tear the outside corner of the eyes and lips.
- Use all of the juice. There is ALWAYS some serum/essence left in the packet after you take the mask out. This is full of the active ingredients so don’t waste it. I smooth it down my neck and decolletage and on the back of my hands.
- Follow the instructions. If is says leave on for ten minutes, only leave it on for ten minutes. More is not always better.
- Cool it down. Pop your packet in the fridge for half an hour to really up the refreshment factor. Obviously, I only do this in summer!